Fire was confined to a bedroom Tuesday morning in a Douglas Island apartment, but heavy smoke damaged the entire residence. No one was home at the time.
Capital City Fire and Rescue Chief Rich Etheridge says crews arrived at the apartment complex owned by Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority about 8:15 a.m. The fire was out by 9:45.
“When the crews got on scene they had heavy smoke pushing out of one of the open front doors and all of the windows were black,” Etheridge said. “Fire crews made a quick attack with hand lines into the residence, extinguished the fire in the back bedroom, and vented the smoke out then they opened the walls and the ceilings.”
Etheridge says the two-story apartment was one of eight units in a building, and other units were evacuated, but the fire did not spread beyond a back bedroom on the first floor. He estimates $75,000 damage to the apartment and personal belongings, primarily due to smoke and heat damage. He says the unit will have to be completely gutted and remodeled.
Fire marshal Dan Jager says more interviews must be done before investigators can determine a cause of the fire.
“We haven’t ruled out if it was intentional or not. We don’t know if it was accidental. We still have some interviews to do and some follow-up investigation stuff on site,” Jager says. “Really, the key thing is getting an interview with the tenants to try to find out what was happening prior to the discovery of the fire. That can help with the time line and everything.”
He says the apartment complex was built in the early 1980s. According to Jager, the property manager was working with the Red Cross to find the occupants temporary housing. No names have been released.